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February 14, 2005

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.05.06 Report on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Meeting, December 7, 2004.

The BHE met from 9:25 to 11:35 a.m. at the University of Illinois-Chicago followed by a Committee on Priorities, Productivity and Accountability meeting from 12:30 to 1:30. UIC Chancellor Sylvia Manning welcomed the group by describing the growth of the campus from a two-year program at Navy Pier in 1946 to its move to the Circle Campus in 1965 and the merger with the Medical Center in 1982.  She said the campus was a “rising academic powerhouse,” ranking 48th in Federal contracts and research grants with a 15.9% increase on the average over the last 5 years.  She stressed the great cities commitment with a wide range of “engaged research” and partnerships of all sorts, its work in heath care with the largest medical college in the nation and its growth in students, 16K undergraduate and 9K professional and graduate.  She stressed the diverse background of the students, many first generation, and the “Access to Excellence” program.  She concluded by thanking President Stukel for his leadership while on the UIC campus and as president.

Chair James Kaplan noted the retirements of Jim Stukel and Gary Davis, Executive Director of the Illinois Community College Trustees Assn. Later, he introduced Elliott Regenstein, Director of Education Reform in the Office of the Governor. Kaplan’s participation in the Midwest Higher Education Compact Conference raised questions in his mind about the quality of the National Report Card, particularly its treatment of affordability. He is interested in the possibility of tuition reciprocity with other states.  (Some states already have that program.) Workforce development was a central issue at the conference.  He commented that “faculty are the most useful resource we have.”

Interim Executive Director Tom Lamont said budget meetings with the institutions are being completed and the BHE is in discussions with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  The higher ed budget will be presented to the BHE for approval in February. The rules for aid to students with disabilities are being altered so only those with the most significant disabilities will get aid.

Reports by advisory groups were brief.  The FAC endorsed the newest revision to The Illinois Commitment and urged the Board to lead the fight for an adequate higher education budget. The Student Advisory Committee urged consideration of all costs not just tuition.  Also, they urged great attention be given to academic building needs rather than new recreation facilities.

The preface to The Illinois Commitment was amended to add greater emphasis to the importance of civic education.  Chairman Kaplan commended Ken Andersen for his work on the Faculty Advisory Council in urging the revision of the document.  (A copy of the newly developed “preface” is attached to this report.)

A 21-member committee was appointed to deal with grants and efforts to improve faculty and staff diversity.  New units of instruction were approved at community colleges, independent and public institutions.

The 2004 statewide performance report assessing progress in meeting the goals of The Illinois Commitment was highlighted. Higher education is graduating more students at more levels in more varied programs. The budget cuts raise questions about our ability to continue to attract more students and a quality faculty and staff.  Illinois is the 3rd largest exporter of college students in the nation.  The state is in the lower half of the nation in terms of research and development funds per capita.  Another concern is whether K-12 teachers are prepared for the diversity of students that will enter schools.  With regard to affordability, more students are getting aid but costs are going up relative to income.  The loan burden of graduates has increased and more students eligible for aid are not receiving it.  Budget constraints are having an impact.  The 2005 report will have more emphasis on the goals of individual institutions.

 The meeting concluded with a very brief report of the Priorities, Productive and Accountability Committee and adoption of the consent agenda, which included approval of the UIUC indoor golf facility.

Following adjournment, the Board heard about an initiative, HURRAH, a program for retirees to work with elementary and secondary students. The State University Annuitants Assn.. has established a grant program to assist its chapters in setting up such programs.  Senate Majority Leader Emil Jones spoke to the important contribution the program can make.

Ken Andersen, FAC Member
Senate Observer




Higher Education provides the foundation for the future of Illinois – an educated, skilled, and responsible citizenry.

Illinois Higher Education: Enhancing the Social, Economic, and Civic Well-Being of Illinois and its Residents

Illinois has one of the largest and most diverse system of higher education in the nation, ranking fourth among all states in total enrollment and sixth in total degrees awarded. Illinois currently offers postsecondary opportunities via 9 public universities on 12 campuses, 48 community colleges operating within 39 districts, 98 independent not-for-profit colleges and universities, and 29 independent for-profit institutions. Collectively, these institutions enhance and enrich the quality of life for all Illinois residents.  Individually, each of these institutions contributes to the well-being of the state and its residents in a distinctive manner unique to its mission that provides a wide range of civic, educational, cultural and economic benefits, including:


The Illinois Board of Higher Education recognizes and affirms the multi-faceted roles of higher education institutions and the many benefits that extend to the state and its residents from higher education.